This is the easiest authentic Vietnamese Peanut Sauce you'll ever whip up! This isn't just your average sauce; it's flavor-packed, vegan and gluten-free, so almost every darned person in the galaxy can eat it. Dripping down your fresh spring rolls or Indonesian vegetable fritters, this is pure peanut perfection coming your way!
I've been on a quest for the ultimate restaurant-style Vietnamese Peanut Sauce, and guess what? I nailed it with the perfect balance of garlic, a kick of sriracha, the nutty richness of roasted peanuts, and just the right sweetness. Easy to make, quick to whip up, and, of course, bursting with flavor. It’s what your Vietnamese soy sauce noodles, and vegan fried chicken have been crying out in the night for you to bathe them in. Can’t you hear their cries? It’s so sad. Quench their thirst with peanut goodness, ya wacky ol’ goof.
This Vietnamese Peanut Sauce recipe is ready to kick everything from dumplings to salads into high gear. Let’s dive in!
🥰Why you are going to adore the ever-loving heck outta this recipe
✨ Semi-secret Ingredients, Bold Flavors: What sets this sauce apart? There is some magic alchemy that happens from the hoisin sauce, bird’s eye chilies and garlic. They work together to perk up the peanut butter base in just the right way to enliven whatever the heck you dip in this.
✅ Foolproof and Reliable: Like all of my vegan recipes, this isn't just a shot in the dark. It's been meticulously crafted and rigorously refined by me, and then tested by a massive team of recipe testers in kitchens all over the world. This Vietnamese Peanut Sauce guarantees success, ensuring you nail it on the first attempt with consistent delicious results.
🥜Notable ingredients and substitutions
Known as "Tỏi" in Vietnamese, garlic brings pungent charm to the mix. Beyond its flavorful punch, the raw garlic in this recipe supports the immune system. For a milder touch, reduce the amount, or if you try to maintain a sattvic diet, leave it out completely.
Sriracha adds a spicy kick that is smooth in the sauce. Its slightly garlic heat is why I love it in Bihun Goreng (stir-fried rice noodles), pad see ew, and mie goreng noodles. If you're looking to dial down the spice, consider using a milder hot sauce or adjusting the quantity to your preferred heat level.
Bird’s Eye Chilies
Known as "Ớt Hiểm" in Vietnamese, these chilies bring a flavor-packed heat like nothing else. I use ‘em in everything from tahu goreng (Indonesian fried tofu), to homemade vegan nuoc cham. Feel free to adjust the quantity based on your spice tolerance. If you're not a spice enthusiast, omit or use a milder chili variety (like fresno or jalapeño) for a gentler kick.
Sweet, savory, and a touch tangy, hoisin sauce adds an easy base complexity to the sauce. If you are gluten-free, check the label or opt for a gluten-free hoisin sauce, because not all bought sauces are. You should be able to get vegetarian hoisin sauce at any Asian grocery store, but you can also substitute vegetarian oyster sauce in its place as it has a similar sweet umami flavor.
Known as "Giấm Gạo" in Vietnamese, rice vinegar adds a subtle tang that balances the sweetness of hoisin sauce (as it does in my Korean BBQ sauce recipe too). It also has a remarkably just-slightly-funky tanginess that simulates subtle dairy flavors in recipes like vegan sour cream. If unavailable, apple cider vinegar (which I use to cut the sweetness of my apple cider donuts), or lime juice can step in, offering a similar acidity.
*See the recipe card at the bottom of the page for exact quantities, nutritional info, and detailed cooking directions.
🇻🇳Saigon Style Peanut Sauce: In Saigon, a splash of tamarind concentrate is often added to peanut sauce. This introduces a subtly sweet and sour note, which is common in southeast Asian recipes like Asinan Sayur salad and the tom yum paste that is used in various Thai recipes.
🔥That Hanoi Heat: in Northern Vietnam, folks often make peanut sauce with finely minced lemongrass in it. But if you’ve messed with fresh lemongrass, you know it’s a bit of a pain in the butt to get minced down fine enough to be pleasant to eat raw. That’s why I love lemongrass powder. It’s not quite as strongly flavored, but it makes this sauce, as well as dishes like tempeh mendoan easy as heck to make.
📖 How to make Vietnamese Peanut Sauce
Nail this sauce perfectly on your first shot by following these step-by-step instructions with helpful tips. Or you can follow along with the easy-to-print recipe card towards the bottom of this page.
For Sizzle my Nizzle:
Warm oil in a saucepan over medium heat. After 90 seconds, when the oil is hot, add minced garlic, sriracha sauce, crushed roasted peanuts, and bird’s eye chilies. Cook for about two minutes until aromatic without the garlic browning.
Mr. Peanut’s Public Meltdown:
Add the hoisin sauce, creamy peanut butter, rice vinegar, and boiling water to the pan. Stir continuously until well-blended and smooth. Simmer to thicken for a couple of minutes, adjusting consistency with water if it seems thicker than you would like. If you want a thicker sauce, just cook it a bit longer.
Once you have the thickness of the sauce where you want it, remove it from the heat. Let the peanut sauce cool to room temperature, then transfer to a serving bowl.
Pretty it up:
Garnish your bowl or ramekin of Vietnamese peanut dipping sauce with extra chopped peanuts and chilies if desired.
This is the perfect dipping sauce to serve with crispy rice dumplings, Thai spring rolls, or gỏi cuốn (fresh Vietnamese spring rolls/summer rolls), where the fresh, crisp veggies perfectly contrast the rich peanut flavors.
Why not use it as a salad dressing? It’s lovely drizzled over salads like urap sayur, bánh tráng trộn (Vietnamese Rice Paper Salad), where it balances the tangy flavors of that salad’s tamarind dressing.
Don’t shy away from a banging Vietnamese dessert to cap off your plant-based meal! Che Ba Mau (three color dessert), the French-Vietnamese fusion desert Banh Flan (Crème Caramel made with coconut milk and Vietnamese cinnamon) or Kem Chuoi (Vegan Banana Coconut Ice Cream Bars) could be the dopiest thing of all time, right?
- Don’t use sucky PB: Opt for a high-quality, unsweetened smooth peanut butter for a pure and rich flavor profile. The peanut butter serves as the backbone of the sauce, so choosing the right one is crucial. Avoid varieties with added sugars or added oils to maintain an authentic taste in what is gonna be your new favorite peanut sauce recipe!
- Searing Aromatics: When initially cooking the oil with garlic, sriracha, crushed roasted peanuts, and bird’s eye chilies, give them a quick sear to unlock their full aromatic potential. Ensure you hit that sweet spot where the aroma is robust but not tinged with the awfulness of burnt.
- Perfect Consistency: Aim for a smooth, velvety texture. If it's too thick, a splash of hot water can be added gradually until you reach your desired thickness.
🤷♀️ Recipe FAQs
Store Vietnamese Peanut Sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week for optimal freshness.
Yes, you can freeze Vietnamese Peanut Sauce in a freezer-safe container for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat gently on the stovetop. It will probably need a little splash of water added to get it smooth and nice again.
Absolutely! Control the spice level by adjusting the amount of sriracha and bird’s eye chilies according to your taste preferences. You can even leave them out altogether, though I think they do add a lot of flavor to the sauce, not just spiciness.
If you want spicy peanut sauce, I recommend mixing in spoonful of sambal oelek or nam prik pao to the finished sauce. It's a bit more like satay sauce, which is great for vegan chicken or over miso roasted eggplant.
Got a peanut allergy? For a peanut-free version, substitute the smooth peanut butter with sunflower seed butter, almond butter or other nut butters (if you can eat tree nuts). Both options provide a similar creamy texture without compromising the essence of the sauce.
Simply add a small amount of hot water gradually and stir until you reach the desired consistency. Adjust as needed to achieve the perfect pourable texture.
While smooth peanut butter is recommended for a consistent texture, you can use crunchy peanut butter if you prefer a heartier sauce with peanut bits. One way you can make it smooth is by blending it in a high-speed blender with the water and hoisin sauce before adding it to the pot.
This recipe is entirely plant-based, but many peanut sauces from Vietnam and Thai peanut sauce recipes are made with fish sauce or oyster sauce. A lot of Vietnamese cuisine contains hidden fish and chicken ingredients, so be aware if you are vegan and eating out.
✌️My faves to serve with this sauce:
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Easy Vietnamese Peanut Sauce Recipe (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
- 4 teaspoons canola oil vegetable oil, or sunflower oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts
- 2 bird’s eye chilies minced
- ½ cup hoisin sauce
- ½ cup smooth peanut butter
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- ⅔ cup boiling water
- Optional: Additional crushed peanuts and sliced bird’s eye chilies to garnish
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. After 90 seconds, when the oil is hot, add minced garlic, sriracha, crushed roasted peanuts, and minced bird’s eye chilies. Cook for a couple of minutes until aromatic.
- Add the hoisin sauce, smooth peanut butter, rice vinegar, and boiling water to the pan. Stir continuously until the mixture is well-blended and reaches a smooth consistency. Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes, ensuring it thickens to your desired consistency. You can thin it with a small amount of extra water if it is too thick.
- Once it is smooth, remove the Vietnamese Peanut Sauce from the heat and let it cool. Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl and garnish with additional peanuts and chilies if desired.